Be Equal

Timeline

IBM has more than 100 years of experience with diversity, inclusion and equality in the workplace. We encourage everyone—generation after generation—to thrive because of their unique differences, not despite them. Journey back in time and discover why diversity is in our DNA.

1911

The newly formed Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, later renamed IBM, included Black and female employees from its founding.

1914

IBM hired its first employee with a disability, 59 years before the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and 76 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act.

1935

First written equal opportunity policy. This was almost 30 years before the US passed the Equal Pay Act.

1942

Hired blind psychologist Michael Supa to create a program for hiring and training people with disabilities.

1943

First woman vice president, Ruth Leach. Between 1940-1943, a third of IBM’s manufacturing hired are women.

1944

IBM President Thomas J. Watson, Sr., joins the Advisory Committee of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and contributes to the UNCF's fundraising efforts.